Uses and Consequences of a Criminal Conviction
Going on the Record of an Offender
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This book examines the increasing retention and use of previous criminal record information, within and beyond the criminal justice system. There remains a misconception that once an offender has served the penalty for an offence, his or her dealings with the law and legal system in relation to that offence is at an end. This book demonstrates that in fact the criminal record lingers and permeates facets of the person's life far beyond the de jure sentence. Criminal records are relied upon by key decision makers at all stages of the formal criminal process, from the police to the judiciary. Convictions can affect areas of policing, bail, trial procedure and sentencing, which the author discusses. Furthermore, with the increasing intensifying of surveillance techniques in the interests of security, ex-offenders are monitored more closely post release and these provisions are explored here. Even beyond the formal criminal justice system, individuals can continue to experience many collateral consequences of a conviction whereby access to employment, travel and licenses (among other areas of social activity) can be limited as a consequence of disclosure requirements. Overall, this book examines the perpetual nature of criminal convictions through the evolution of criminal record use, focussing on the Irish perspective, and also considers the impact from a broader international perspective.
“As the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney wrote: ‘Human beings suffer, they torture one another’. The desire for revenge is natural. Yet, state retribution is only justified if it is calibrated. Too often, a youthful mistake can lead to a life sentence when criminal records become tools for permanent stigmatisation and discrimination. In this rigorous and systematic review, Margaret Fitzgerald O'Reilly provides the first ever comprehensive analysis of the uses and misuses of criminal records in Ireland. In doing so, it provides a ‘hope for a great sea-change on the far side of revenge’.” (Shadd Maruna, author of Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives)